In most circumstances, I suspect schadenfreude is a sign of a serious character flaw. My mother most certainly would never have approved. However, today I read a post on another indie author’s blog where she was most definitely giving way to delight over recent posts in that “Other Place” from readers complaining about how series they follow have turned to drek and how they feel they are “reading in circles.”
I noticed those threads too and while they didn’t bring on a schadenfreude attack, the irony didn’t escape me. The same people who want to bully anyone off their list who says they like a book that didn’t come through the traditional publishing house gatekeepers are complaining about what those very same gatekeepers are feeding them. I know on a lot of forums similar threads come and go in cycles and this one surely pops up with some regularity. It’s been many years since I first noticed that a lot of those “regular” romance authors pretty much have a standard book template. For a new book, they change the names and physical descriptions of the characters, put them in a new setting and run them through some variation of the same events to a HEA and bingo. Johanna Lindsey’s Mallory books were the first time it hit me between the eyes, and that was years ago.
I appreciate each and every review left for either of my books, but one that struck me at the time and that speaks to this subject includes the following: “Most romance novels seem to follow a boilerplate story line. Often I can look at the progress bar on my Kindle and tell you where the story goes next. Not so with this work. Ms. O’Connell surprised me at almost every turn.” Too bad some readers prefer going in circles to investigating something not gatekept, and it’s hard to fault that other indie author for her feelings about it.